Thursday, July 31, 2008

Bill Evans - "Symbiosis" (1974)

First posted by Bacoso to "Orgy In Rhythm", July 2006

Track 3 excerpt 

Track 1 excerpt 

Simon says :
This was a fairly recent re-post at OIR, but I thought it should be up, should be heard, and should be here! Simply put, it's a beautiful piece of music and the best use of a fender rhodes in an orchestral setting. Jan Stevens' review below nails it, so I'll hand you over and then add some more albums at the end on which Bill Evans plays the Rhodes.

Jan Stevens writes :

is a beautiful and vastly overlooked album in Bill Evans’ prolific canon, yet one that needs to be seriously reckoned with. Claus Ogerman, who had worked with Bill on two previous albums in 1963 and in 1966 ("Bill Evans Trio With Symphony Orchestra") , composed an adventurous and often hauntingly gorgeous work in two parts. In the third section of the first movement, working over a slow and gentle jazzy swing, Bill plays long and fast-moving lines on electric piano that catch your ear with their shimmering beauty and complexity. Ogerman writes lush but never maudlin strings (and a few flutes) here in dense, often whole-tone and poly-chordal fashion underneath - creating a perfect cushion for the pianist’s swirling right-hand lines.

The Rhodes fits in well here, as it does sparingly in and out through Symbiosis’ framework. It is often used as punctuation at the end of a written ensemble phrase, or as an ensemble texture. Evans’ choices as to when to use the Rhodes or the Steinway are wise indeed, and not without great sensitivity, integrating seamlessly within the composition. Claus Ogerman as composer-arranger succeeds marvelously here with a work of great harmonic expression and rhythmic interest that showcases Evans’ lyrical expression and his obviously inherent classical strengths, yet within a composition that represents much of what jazz is about. (Ogerman would later do the same for tenor sax virtuoso Michael Brecker for his "Cityscape" album.)

If we consider the aural comparisons to the other albums Bill did with orchestral accompaniment, it is far and away the most superior achievement, and may represent his best use of the electric keyboard in context. “Symbiosis” is far too important to be neglected as often as it has when jazz writers discuss Bill Evans albums.

As biographer Keith Shadwick noted: “Evans brings to the work the consummate artistry and sensitivity that occurs when he is stretched and stimulated. His rubato playing in the opening and second movement sometimes alone, sometimes in unison with the strings, is both moving and immensely accomplished in a way that few jazz or classical pianists could have countenanced."


1st Movement (Moderato, Various Tempi) - 24:58
Track 1 (a) 7:58
Track 2 (b) 5:17
Track 3 (c) 11:43

2nd Movement (Largo- Andante - Maestoso - Largo) - 15:55
Track 4 (a) 9:11
Track 5 (b) 6:44


Piano [Steinway & Fender-rhodes] - Bill Evans 
 Composed By, Arranged By, Conductor - Claus Ogerman 
 Concertmaster - David Nadien
Bass - Eddie Gomez
Bassoon - Wally Kane
Clarinet, Clarinet [Bass] - Danny Bank , Ron Janelly
Congas - Ralph McDonald
Contrabassoon - Donald MacCourt
Drums - Marty Morell
Flute - Bill Slapin , Don Hammond , Hubert Laws
French Horn - Al Richmond , Brooks Tillotson , Earl Chapin , James Buffington , Pete Gordon (2) , Ray Alonge
Oboe - George Marge , Phil Bodner
Percussion - Dave Carey , Doug Allen , George Devens
Saxophone [Alto] - Harvey Estrin , Jerry Dodgion , Phil Woods , Walt Levinsky
Trombone [Bass] - Paul Faulise , Tommy Mitchell
Trombone [Tenor] - Urbie Green
Trumpet - Bernie Glow , Johnny Frosk , Marky Markowitz , Marvin Stamm , Mel Davis , Victor Paz
Tuba - Don Butterfield


Recorded on February 11, 12 and 14th 1974 at Columbia Recording Studios, New York City.

MPS Records Catalogue # 15402
Producer - Helen Keane
Recorded By - Frank Laico

Photography - Raymond Ross
Cover Design - Ulrich Eichberger + MPS-Atelier
Hubert Laws courtesy of CTI Records.
David Nadien courtesy of the New York Philarmonic Orchestra.

Bill Evans on the Fender Rhodes

1970 "From Left to Right" at Sing My Body Electric / alternate
1971 "The Bill Evans Album" at Blues and Cats

1972 "Living Time" (with George Russell) at Etnik Cafe
1974 "Intuition" (with Eddie Gomez) at Jazzt music

1974 "Symbiosis" in comments here
1976 "Montreaux Vol. 3" at DJ Vilson Professor Groove / alternate
1978 "New Conversations" at Las Cintas Recuperadas / FLAC version
1978 "Affinity" (
with Toots Thielemans) at Soundological Investimigations
1979 "We Will Meet Again"
at musica que cuelga

Claus Ogerman

website on Claus Ogerman

1980 'Claus Ogerman & The London Symphony Orchestra with Gidon Kremer' at Scoredaddy's
1982 "Cityscape" - Michael Brecker & Claus Ogerman - rapidshare 1 2
2008 'Across The Crystal Sea' - Danielo Perez & Claus Ogerman at sunline-muzic



Kevin said...

Beautiful album - thanks for the share!

Gianni said...

thanks simon.
mediafire's working great!

Roguur said...

Great post, thanks!

Art Simon said...


I love your erudite commentary, and the scholarly links to related recordings. Your blog has opened my eyes and ears, and this post is no exception. Thanks so much!

Christopher said...

A great record that I never had a chance to hear. Thanks so much

Ruud said...

Thanks, I love Bill Evans.

btw... i hope you don't mind, I put a link to your blog on mine.


Ruud :)

Simon666 said...

hey ruud, no problem at all. Enjoy the album!

larry said...

Great site!

cheeba said...

Hi Simon, I had not heard much of his material after the 60s. Gotta say not the biggest Bill Evans fan but enjoy this LP.

Also thought I'd let you know that I found a copy of Affinity while hunting today and will rip it this week. I wouldn't have bought it if you hadn't posted this, so thanks for opening me up to new possibilities!

Simon666 said...

hi cheeba -
yeah it's a great album, stands quite separately from the rest of his output ..

Simon666 said...

Have added bloglinks for the albums "Affinity" and "We Will Meet Again" (within the discography) and "Bill Evans Trio With Symphony Orchestra" (in the post section)

cheeba said...

Man, are you ever on top of things! Thanks again!

alex said...

many thanks simon,missed this baby at OIR & YOUR REPOST!


Simon666 said...

No problems Alex :)
I actually got a nice vinyl copy of this last week, so hang tight a week or so and I'm going to add a WAV rip ...

Simon666 said...

Post update :

Added a link to "We Will Meet Again" (1979) in the "Bill Evans on the fender rhodes" discography section.

Also a section on Claus Ogerman - not comprehensive - with links to three albums.

Simon666 said...

Hi all,
Added a link to "New Conversations" (1978) in the "Bill Evans on the fender rhodes" discography section - which I think is now complete.

Anonymous said...

Been a Bill Evans fan for a long time, but never heard this one before. Thanks for sharing!

Anonymous said...

Thanks so much, this is wonderful!

Simon666 said...

Hi guys -
Added a link in the "Bill Evans on Fender Rhodes" discography :

FLAC version of "New Conversations" (1978) :

Jonathan D. Cohen said...

Thanks for the post. This came up as a single track in a Horace Silver playlist on Rdio. Listening to the entire album.

It's like orchestral free jazz funk.

Anonymous said...

Thanks very much for Symbiosis. I've been listening to it on YouTube but now I can listen to it on my iPod when I run :)

Wade Cottingham said...

thanks for this missing title for my Bill Evans collection!

Anonymous said...

Hi Simon,

Many thanks for the re-uo ...

Simon666 said...

Thanks Jonathan, Wade and the various anonymous-es for the comments :)

Anonymous said...

Thanks very much. I really appreciate this. Great site, and love your selection of music.

Pablo de la Torre said...

Hi there, i invite you to listen to me playing "Waltz for Debby"

Simon666 said...

Thankyou for that, Pablo!